>> Three, two, one, zero, ignition lift-off.>> A milestone for Elon Musk's SpaceX rocket company Sunday, as it launched its first national security space mission for the United States.>> And here we go, we've had a successful lift-off of the Falcon 9 vehicle carrying the GPS III space vehicle into transfer orbit.
>> The Falcon 9 rocket is carrying a roughly $500 million GPS satellite known as GPS III built by Lockheed Martin.>> Stage separation confirmed.>>
>> The successful launch is a significant victory for Musk and SpaceX. Which has spent years trying to break into the lucrative market for military space launches dominated by Lockheed and Boeing.
The GPS III satellite is the first to launch out of 32 in production for the Air Force GPS III program.>> Our next immediate milestone is the fairing to plummet. We're going to expose the GPS III satellite to the vacuum of space.>> SpaceX sued the US Air Force in 2014 over the military's award of a multi billion dollar non-compete contract for 36 rocket launches to United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Boeing and Lockheed.
It dropped the lawsuit in 2015 after the Air Force agreed to open up competition. The following year, SpaceX won an $83 million Air Force contract to launch the GPS III satellite which will have a lifespan of 15 years.>> Everything is running nominally, from the second stage to our payload.